Thursday, 22 May 2014

Sleepy Village Awakes

A public meeting was held in Walkington Village Hall last night, jointly called by:

- local villagers involved in the planning process in 2011
- protectors, camping at Crawberry Hill wellsite
- H.E.Y. Frack Off, a campaign group opposing extreme energy extraction in Hull and East Yorkshire.

Overwhelming support for Crawberry Hill Protectors anti fracking camp at Walkington Village meeting

Around 100 people packed out the hall and had to stand around the edges, with residents keen to get more informed about what's going on, meet the protectors, express opposition to the oil and gas operations a mile up the road from their village, and get organised in their opposition.

The meeting concluded with cheers and a loud round of applause:
"In Bentley Australia there's a large camp of protectors, with several thousand members of the community joining a blockade against the industry.
Last week the company's licence was pulled.
This industry CAN be defeated"

Villagers explained why they fought so hard to get a "no fracking" planning condition on the well site, and why they "feel the spirit of that condition is about to be broken".

Protectors from the camp explained why a group of individuals, including many educated to degree level, would take the extraordinary step of giving up jobs, family and a comfortable lifestyle to camp at the side the road during a grim northern winter (Barton Moss) and why they have now come to East Yorkshire in this local, national and international campaign.  "We're here to defend you and your community against the impacts of this industry."
They also allayed fears about litter, showing images of the former sites at Barton Moss and Balcombe after clean up.

H.E.Y. Frack Off gave a factual presentation including evidence of the devastating impacts of fracking from the US and Australia, covering topics of health, water, air and property values, among others.
They also explained exactly why this was of immediate concern, even though Rathlin claim they, 'aren't fracking'.

"Rathlin are just prospectors mining for data in the shale rock, and if they strike gold they'll sell out to the big guys like Total, and these 2 wells will just be the first of hundreds across the East Yorkshire countryside."

There followed an extended Q&A running an hour over time.  Walkington villagers typically being highly educated and wealthy, offered well informed comments, and various media extracts included the British Medial Journal, "Public Health England ... ignores many of the inherent risks of the industry that no amount of regulation can sufficiently remedy" , and "Conservative peer Lord Howell sparked disbelief today when he repeated his call for fracking in the “desolate North-East” – and not in “Tory areas” - Northern Echo.

There was overwhelming support for the camp, with offers of food, water, tools and donations to pay for camp infrastructure and campaign materials.

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